By: Stephen J Smith
Over the past several years, the acronym of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) has been lost on broadband companies. The kings and queens of Silicon Valley built incredibly complex boxes that could do anything — as long as you had your CCNP and CCIE network certifications. You don’t know what those are? Well then you too have probably been frustrated by the lack of control of the network in your home.
Controlling who and what was accessed on your family network seemed as difficult as finding an online article not involving the Kardashians. But alas, these problems have in large part been resolved by several vendors including, Disney Circle, AmpliFi, Luma and today’s subject, Eero.
Generally, as parents and grandparents we struggle with two issues with our family network:
- Wi-Fi dead zones within the home
- Parental controls for our Wi-Fi network
Various vendors have attacked the problem from different perspectives. However, successful companies are arranging a grouping of small routers or devices that help to overcome issues related to Wi-Fi long distances and interference. In essence, these routers work cohesively as a team to extend Wi-Fi across multiple floors in addition to all the nooks and crannies within your home.
For example: In my home we have four floors of living space. Getting Wi-Fi in my upstairs office has always been a challenge – as it has been in our dining room which is on the opposite side of our router on the first floor.
By placing an Eero router in the middle of our first floor and another in my office upstairs, we have essentially resolved our Wi-Fi issues. Each Eero device works seamlessly with the others – creating a “mesh” network that distributes the Wi-Fi throughout our home.
In doing so, my wife Mary Beth can listen to music on her Amazon Echo while reading articles on her iPhone in our family room. I on the other hand can work tirelessly in my upstairs office writing this article.
During the evening we can stream re-runs of Seinfeld on Hulu in our bedroom until we each fall asleep. (Yeah, we’re pretty boring.)
The system is attractive and more importantly, easy to setup – thus overcoming the need to acquire network certifications in order to secure our Wi-Fi connection.
My favorite feature of the Eero is the parental controls. We have several grandkids which spend time with us each week. Through these controls we have full domain over what devices can be used. Moreover, we can turn Internet access on and off on a per device basis.
Additionally, when guests visit our home, we can now provide easy access for them to a fully controllable GUEST NETWORK.
My only concern with solutions such as Eero is the cost. Depending on the configuration, these types of mesh systems cost $350 or more.
- The 3 unit Eero package that I’m using retails for $499.
- The Luma retails for $399.
- Google Hub cost $490
- The Orbi 2 unit solution costs $399.99.
- AmpliFi HD costs $350
If consistent connectivity of WIFI within your home is not an issue, you’ve got to think twice about spending 3-5 Benjamin’s to get Wi-Fi in remote areas of your home.
If you have children or grandchildren, you would be better off purchasing a Disney Circle for its robust parent controls for the significantly lower cost of $99.00. However, devices such as the Eero have some of the parental controls of the Disney Circle, plus blazing Wi-Fi speed throughout your house… assuming you have blazing Wi-Fi speed coming into your house.
If you’re researching any of these types of devices, realize that updates are made on an almost monthly basis. Several reviews of the Eero were published in February 2016 that don’t mention its parental controls. However, don’t be fooled — currently has screen time parental controls — with a promise to deliver many more controls in the future beased on parent feedback.
Below are several links to reviews of the Eero – and in some cases comparable products. Look for our Cincinnati Bell App Update later in December of this year for our video review of Eero as well.
For now, rest assured that the days of poor Wi-Fi coverage and lack of parental controls within your home are over. You simply need to decide whether you need to extend your Wi-Fi coverage; require parental controls or both.
From an ease of use perspective the Eero satisfies both requirements – albeit at a cost.
The Disney Circle does an excellent job of controlling who and what can access your network – at a very reasonable price. However, it will not extend your Wi-Fi coverage within your home.
Once you decide on your needs and priorities, perhaps you have some idea how to control that whole Kardashian issue.
OTHER EERO REVIEWS TO CONSIDER:
A Wired Family Magazine
Wall Street Journal
CNET NOTE: Does not address parental control
PC Magazine Does not address parental controls http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2499881,00.asp
About Stephen J Smith